Apple Pay will officially launch in China at the start of 2016, after the Cupertino company signed a deal with bankcard provider China UnionPay.
The tie–up will see 15 major Chinese banks offer Apple Pay at launch. Exact details of which outlets will offer the service are yet to be revealed.
The news comes after reports earlier this year suggested Apple was looking to bring Apple Pay to China to tie in with Chinese New Year, on February 8th. The festival sees millions travelling across the country and spending increasing sums on gifts.
As in the U.S., UK and Australia, customers’ details are not stored on compatible iPhones. Instead, Apple stores a Device Account Number in a secure part of the handset, using a randomly generated code for each transaction. The service will also work with the Apple Watch.
“China is an extremely important market for Apple and with China UnionPay and support from 15 of China’s leading banks, users will soon have a convenient, private and secure payment experience,” said Apple’s Eddy Cue, the man in charge of the company’s Internet Software and Services.
Apple Pay is facing growing competition from both Samsung and Google, although the company’s fast–growing business in China means it is likely to enjoy an advantage at launch.